Video of the Week... 'World's most valuable penny,' the Lincoln cent coin

"This is the world's most valuable penny," said rare coin dealer Laura Sperber, President of Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey, when a rare one-of-a-kind Lincoln cent went under the hammer, last month.

In the end, the coin - dating to World War Two and mistakenly struck from the wrong metal, 67 years ago - sold for $1.7m. The key to the coin's value? It is the only known 1943-dated Lincoln cent to have been incorrectly struck in a copper alloy at the Denver Mint.

"Zinc-coated steel was being used for pennies in 1943 to conserve copper for other uses during World War Two, and this one was mistakenly struck on a bronze coin disc left over from 1942," said Sperber in our full report on the sale.

According to Sperber, it took four years of aggressive negotiations with the coin's owner until he agreed to sell it and become $1.7m richer. But then aggressive negotiations have always been part of the history of the Lincoln cent...

The unique 1943 Denver Mint bronze cent, sold for $1.7m

The coin originally came into being by the efforts of President Theodore Roosevelt and, as part of his plans to promote national pride in the US, was the first-ever coin in US history to bear the likeness of the US president on its obverse. Roosevelt's chosen president was Abraham Lincoln.

As it turns out, this idea would be one of many which resulted in arguments and politics at the Mint, making the story behind the Lincoln cent as fascinating as the specimen itself. But don't take our word for it...

In another of his excellent and comprehensive numismatic mini-documentaries, filmmaker Mark Apsolon takes you through the history of the Lincoln Cent, and reveals why the penny is both 'the world's most valuable' - yet can be affordable for just about anyone...



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